One morning a 40-something man created a fake social media profile of a 17-year old girl. He created a description and liked some TV shows and performers that the typical 17-year old girl would like. Then he started posting.
The make believe 17 year old girl posted, “I’m lonely, and no one cares about me.”
Within 34 minutes, there were 18 responses from people who fit the human trafficker’s profile.
The man who created the fake social media profile was Orange County California Senior Deputy District Attorney, Bradley Schoenleben. Mr. Schoenleben has prosecuted many human trafficking cases, and has provided resources to victims and education to law enforcement and to the public. He showed us, in less than an hour, how traffickers find teens who are vulnerable to being trafficked.
Mr. Schoenleben and his wife served as the masters of ceremonies at the 2019 Priceless Luncheon benefitting Vanguard University’s Global Center For Women and Justice. The theme of the event was
Justice, Freedom, and Dignity are PRICELESS
Some of the valuable nuggets of information that came out of this year’s Priceless Luncheon are these:
There are more people in slavery in the United States today than there were during the dark days of slave trade in our nation.
The single most powerful recruiting tool for traffickers is social media. Traffickers look for words and emojis from young people that show sadness and depression.
Dr. Sandie Morgan’s ENDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING podcast is now heard in 91 countries! The Library of Congress will be housing the podcast as it is considered a significant part of our nation’s history and advancement of our civilization. Congratulations Dr. Morgan!
Live2Free, a student-led, campus club that stands against the injustice of human trafficking has expanded to other high schools and colleges throughout the world (including Argentina!). These college students go into high schools to educate their peers, youth, and community about how to fight trafficking. Great work Live2Free.org!
Two high school juniors, Brianna Lopez and Esmeralda Romo, were so moved by what they learned from the Live2Free group, that they decided to make a short film to educate kids about how easily someone can find themselves involved in human trafficking. It’s called The Untold Truth Short Film and can be found at https://youtu.be/k7Pjz5bW3ps. Brianna and Esmeralda were awarded the 2019 Priceless Young Leader Award.
Here are take-aways from this year’s Priceless event. Sharing these things with the young people within your influence just might be the most significant thing you can do today:
✔ Tell the young people within your influence to NEVER post sad or depressed graphics, emoji’s, gifs, videos, or statements.
✔ Set social media pages on private.
✔ Deny direct message requests from strangers—no matter what the stranger says or who they say they know. Traffickers gather info from theirs and their friend’s pages and use that information to trick kids into thinking it’s a message from someone they know or a message from someone who was referred to them.